• Georgia Power price plan rattles solar developers

    Yesterday

    ATLANTA (AP) — A plan by Georgia Power to change the way it pays for solar electricity from small- and medium-sized projects is worrying developers just a year after they pushed the monopoly into using more renewable energy. This price dispute illustrates the tension between traditional utility companies and a growing solar industry. For years, the Southern Co. subsidiary has operated on a straightforward monopoly model: Use a small number of big, expensive plants to produce huge amounts of electricity relatively cheaply. In the long run, distributed solar panels could make those big plants less important and weaken the financial clout of traditional utilities.

  • Legislative leaders say coal rhetoric not helping

    Yesterday

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia's top legislative leaders aren't sure clamoring over coal this election season does much good for Appalachia's already-sputtering industry. In the Mountain State, federal campaigns have hammered on the fear of federal regulation further stifling coal. Hopefuls for an open Senate seat and two competitive House races have recited the same conversation: Republicans lump Democrats in with President Obama, an ever-unpopular figure in West Virginia. Democrats zigzag to show they don't support his energy ideas. It's a simplified dialogue that ignores the larger forces determining Appalachian coal's future, said state House Speaker Tim Miley and Senate President Jeff Kessler.

  • Chemical tech center planned at college

    Yesterday

    GEISMAR, La. (AP) — Chemical-maker BASF has donated $100,000 to support construction of an advanced technology center on the new Burnside campus of River Parishes Community College. BASF and college officials say they will work together to design the facility and develop training programs for chemical plant jobs. The company says it also plans to give the college surplus equipment to allow instructors to simulate chemical plant operations and create more realistic training scenarios for students. Chancellor Dale Doty says the center will help Ascension Parish meet a growing demand for skilled workers.

  • Chemical reform bill faces uphill battle in Senate

    Yesterday

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Efforts to come up with a new chemical regulation bill face an uphill battle in the Senate. Over the summer, Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and David Vitter of Louisiana, the top Republican on the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, provided a revised draft of their chemical regulation bill to committee chairwoman Barbara Boxer, who told The Associated Press this week that the draft still falls short. The original bill had been panned by some environmental groups, such as Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, who assailed it as "phony reform," although the Environmental Defense Fund supported its introduction as a chance for an eventual breakthrough.

  • An $800,000 gift for LSU Law Center

    Yesterday

    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The LSU Law Center is receiving an $800,000 gift for its John P. Laborde Energy Law Center. The gift is from the J. Bennett Johnston Science Foundation. It establishes an Energy Law Endowment Fund named for Johnston, a former U.S. senator for Louisiana and a 1956 graduate of the law center. LSU Law Center Chancellor Jack M. Weiss announced the gift Friday. An LSU news release said the endowment fund will serve as a challenge fund for the Law Center's $20 million Energy Law Center fundraising campaign.

  • China's industrial output slows to 6.9 percent

    Yesterday

    BEIJING (AP) — China's factory output in August slowed to 6.9 percent from a year earlier amid waning export demand and a slump in real estate development that has undermined steel and cement production, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics. The growth rate for industrial production in August was down sharply from 9.0 percent in July. In other data, fixed assets investment in non-rural areas of China rose 16.5 percent in the January-August period compared with the same period a year earlier. Industrial production was slowing amid weaker exports to major markets in Japan, Europe and the United States and the saturation of China's domestic markets for vehicles and mobile phones after years of

  • US, EU levy sanctions on Russia despite cease-fire

    Updated: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Unsatisfied with a fragile cease-fire in Ukraine, the United States and the European Union levied new sanctions Friday against major Russian banks and defense companies, as well as penalties aimed at curtailing Russia's ability to develop oil and gas projects. But the restrictions on Russia's energy sector were carefully crafted to avoid impacting the country's current production of oil and gas, a move that would raise global energy prices at time of weak economic growth. Russia is the largest oil exporter outside of OPEC and the most important supplier of natural gas to Europe. The Western sanctions came one week after Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists signed a cease-fire aimed at ending a monthslong

  • Recalls this week: smoke alarms, generators

    Updated: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    More than 1 million smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are being recalled because a power outage could render them useless. Inflatable rubber tubes that can irritate skin and boys jackets posing an entanglement hazard are also among this week's recalled consumer products. Here's a more detailed look: SMOKE AND CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS DETAILS: Kidde hard-wired smoke and combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms. They include model i12010S with manufacture dates between December 18, 2013 and May 13, 2014, combination smoke/CO alarm model il2010SCO with manufacture dates between December 30, 2013 and May 13, 2014, and combination smoke/CO alarm model KN-COSM-IBA with manufacture date between October 22, 2013 and May 13, 2014.

  • Pia Zadora badly hurt after Vegas golf cart fall

    Updated: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Entertainer Pia Zadora has been hospitalized with serious head and leg injuries after a fall from a motorized golf cart driven by her teenage son near their northwest Las Vegas home. Zadora's husband, Mike Jeffries, tells the Las Vegas Sun (http://bit.ly/1uLVwuB ) the singer-actress suffered a head injury and a compound ankle fracture in the Thursday evening accident. She's recovering in intensive care at University Medical Center. Jeffries says Zadora's upcoming performances at Piero's Italian Restaurant in Las Vegas are canceled. Zadora was a child Broadway actress and appeared in movies before becoming a singer of popular standards.

  • Tesla Q&A: Tesla's Nevada 'gigafactory' FAQs

    Updated: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    SPARKS, Nev. (AP) — Now that Gov. Brian Sandoval has signed into law a package of incentives for Tesla Motors worth up to $1.3 billion, the electric-car maker is moving ahead with plans to build a $5 billion lithium battery factory expected to open in 2017 and employ 6,500 workers to make cheaper batteries so it can afford to mass market a new line of more affordable vehicles. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the California-based company and its "gigafactory": When will construction begin and when can we expect it to start producing batteries? Site preparation began in July at an industrial park along U.S. Interstate 80 15 miles east of Sparks, a Reno suburb.

  • Governor candidate concerned about gas-line deal

    Updated: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker said Friday that the structure for a major liquefied natural gas project in Alaska is "fatally flawed" because the state doesn't have a seat at the negotiating table. In an interview with The Associated Press, Walker did not say he would pull out of the agreement structuring the project. But he left that as an option, and he made clear there wasn't much about the deal that he liked. The state is pursuing the mega-project with the North Slope's three major players, Exxon Mobil Corp., BP and ConocoPhillips; pipeline company TransCanada Corp.; and the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. (AGDC). Under the agreement, there will be chances for one or more parties

  • San Diego cabbies cry foul over body odor test

    Updated: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — Body odor is among 52 criteria that officials at San Diego International Airport use to judge taxi drivers. Cabbies say that smacks of prejudice and discrimination. For years, inspectors with the San Diego Regional Airport Authority have run down their checklist for each cabbie — proof of insurance, functioning windshield wipers, adequate tire treads, good brakes. Drivers are graded pass, fail or needs fixing. Anyone who flunks the smell test is told to change before picking up another customer. Leaders of the United Taxi Workers of San Diego union say the litmus perpetuates a stereotype that predominantly foreign-born taxi drivers smell bad.

  • State lawmakers to consider execution by gas

    Updated: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma would become the first state to execute condemned inmates using nitrogen gas under a proposal that will be presented next week to a legislative committee. Rep. Mike Christian, a former highway patrolman and a staunch supporter of the death penalty, said he will unveil details of the plan Tuesday during an interim study of the House Judiciary Committee. Christian, R-Oklahoma City, said he intends to draft a bill for next year's Legislature, which begins in February. "We've had so many problems with lethal injection," Christian said. "I think this is just a more humane method, and I think it will be well received.

  • Museum to put 3 O'Keeffe paintings up for auction

    Updated: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in New Mexico said Friday it will sell three works by the American modernist painter to benefit its acquisitions fund. Going on the auction block is one of O'Keeffe's most well-known flower paintings — "Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1." The painting is expected to fetch as much as $15 million when Sotheby's offers it as the centerpiece of its American art sale in New York in November. The other two works are "On the Old Santa Fe Road" and "Untitled (Skunk Cabbage)." Those paintings are expected to bring in $3.7 million combined. The larger-than-life image of the white bloom of the jimson weed will be on view in Los Angeles and Hong Kong before returning to New York

  • Salmonella-tainted peanuts case in hands of jury

    Updated: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    ALBANY, Ga. (AP) — Jurors started deciding Friday whether the owner of a Georgia peanut plant linked to a deadly salmonella outbreak recklessly sent known tainted products with the motto "just ship it" or was simply a scapegoat for large food companies that authorities didn't want to prosecute and subordinate managers who weren't prominent enough to shoulder the blame. Former Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell has been on trial since Aug. 1, accused of shipping tainted peanuts and peanut butter to customers and covering up positive lab tests for salmonella. Federal investigators in January 2009 identified Parnell's peanut plant in rural Georgia as the source of salmonella poisoning blamed for the deaths of nine A

  • Prosecutors target credit card thieves overseas

    Updated: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Criminals from around the world buy and sell stolen credit card information with ease in today's digital age. But if they commit their crime entirely outside the United States, they may be beyond the reach of federal prosecutors. Justice Department officials are seeking a tougher law to combat overseas credit card trafficking, an increasingly lucrative crime that crosses national boundaries. Authorities say the current statute is too weak because it allows people in other countries to avoid prosecution if they stay outside the United States when buying and selling the data and don't pass their illicit business through the U.S.

  • HSBC paying $550M to resolve mortgage bond claims

    Updated: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    WASHINGTON (AP) — British bank HSBC has agreed to pay $550 million to resolve U.S. claims that it misled U.S. mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about risky mortgage securities it sold them before the housing market collapsed in 2007. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie and Freddie, announced the settlement Friday with HSBC. London-based HSBC is Europe's largest bank and also has extensive operations in the U.S. Its U.S. division has about $289 billion in assets, making it the 9th largest bank in the U.S. HSBC sold the securities to the two mortgage companies between 2005 and 2007. Under the settlement, HSBC is paying $176 million to Fannie and $374 million to Freddie.

  • Fight over World War II-era tank goes to court

    Updated: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) — A company headed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has filed a lawsuit in the San Francisco Bay Area over a World War II-era German tank it says it paid $2.5 million for but never received. The Panzer IV tank was part of a fleet of military vehicles amassed by Stanford University-trained engineer Jacques Littlefield, who kept them on his family estate up a winding, forested road above Silicon Valley. After his death, his family turned them over to the Massachusetts-based Collings Foundation, which put some of them up for auction in Portola Valley in July.

  • Correction: Hewlett-Packard-Russian Bribes story

    Updated: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In a story Sept. 11 about a guilty plea in a Russian bribery case, The Associated Press reported erroneously the company involved. It was a Russian subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard, not Hewlett-Packard Co. A corrected version of the story is below: HP subsidiary fined $58.7M for bribery of Russian government Hewlett-Packard subsidiary pleads to bribery of Russian government officials, gets $58.7M fine SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Russian subsidiary Hewlett-Packard Co. pleaded guilty Thursday to felony charges that former employees bribed Russian government officials for a contract, and the company has been fined $58.7 million.

  • Stocks decline amid interest rate worries

    Updated: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    NEW YORK (AP) — The prospect of rising interest rates sent the stock market to its first weekly loss since early August. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 11.91 points, or 0.6 percent, to end at 1,985.54 on Friday. The index was down 1.1 percent for the week. Declines were led by utility companies and other stocks that pay high dividends. Those stocks have been in favor this year as investors hunt for other sources of income because bond yields have been low. Now that the yield on the ultra-safe 10-year Treasury note has shot to 2.61 percent — its highest level in two months — investors are less willing to hold riskier stocks, even those paying a rich dividend. The recent rise in bond yields was bolstered